Gov. Heineman Previews Upcoming Trade Mission to Cuba (March 21, 2007)

(Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman will lead a trade mission to Cuba, departing Sunday, March 25 and returning Wednesday, March 28.

“We have had excellent feedback from Nebraska companies and producers during previous trade missions and the fact that we have so many ag groups returning is a signal to me that the Cuban market has proved fruitful for our producers,” Gov. Heineman said.

Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy led a trade delegation last year resulting in the signing of a $30 million Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to purchase Nebraska food products. MOUs are agreements to purchase goods, but are not actual sales contracts. The focus of this trade mission will be helping Nebraska businesses negotiate contracts with Alimport, the Cuban import authority, in order to fulfill the MOU.

Another MOU for $30 million was signed during a trade visit lead by the Governor in 2005. Sales contracts to fulfill that MOU were executed over the remainder of the year.

The Governor will lead meetings with Chairman and CEO Pedro Alvarez, and is also expected to meet the leader of Cuba’s National Assembly. Members of the delegation will have an opportunity to tour the country’s food processing and distribution network.

Most participants on this trade mission will be exploring opportunities to build on their current presence in the Cuban market. Representatives of Nebraska’s dry bean, pork and soybean co-op and commodity groups are among those who’ve negotiated contracts during previous trips and will be returning as part of this visit.

Other members of the delegation include Greg Ibach, director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Richard Baier, director of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.

With a total of 31 representatives, this is the largest Nebraska delegation to travel to Cuba. The group includes representatives from Nebraska companies, commodity organizations and commodity transport companies, as well as national ag and local media.

U.S. law allows for the sale of food, agricultural commodities and medical supplies to Cuba. This will be the Governor’s third visit to Cuba and the fifth international trade mission of his administration.

FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Patty Wood 402-471-1559

Individuals who are hearing and/or speech impaired and have a TDD, may contact the department through the Statewide Relay System by calling one of the following numbers:
711, (800) 833- 7352 (TDD), or (800) 833-0920 (voice).
The relay operator should be asked to call DED at (800) 426-6505, or (402) 471-3111.

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